Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Through the looking glass

The following paragraphs appeared in an AP story headlined "EPA report shows no hazardous waste, chemical spills from Katrina":

At a Pascagoula test site near Chevron's oil refinery, DuPont's First Chemical Corp. and Mississippi Phosphates, the metals arsenic and chromium, byproducts of industry, were discovered above recommended cleanup levels, the EPA said.

At the Polychemie site in Pearlington, the EPA said arsenic and benzopyrene, a compound created when organic materials are not burnt completely, were found above recommended cleanup levels.

Arsenic was also found at elevated levels at the Ershigs Fiberglass plant in Biloxi. The EPA report said that the contaminants, though above recommended levels, fell within an acceptable range of possibly causing cancer in somewhere between one in 10,000 and one in 1 million people.
What's more troubling -- that the EPA can look at these results and conclude "[b]ased on the sampling results, EPA does not believe these sites were impacted by Hurricane Katrina" or that the news media plays right along? The paragraphs above were the ninth through 11th grafs in the story and didn't make the cut on some news organization Web sites, like here and here.

Perhaps a better headline for this story would have been "EPA report on Katrina impact doesn't reflect reality." That way, people who don't or can't read down to the ninth paragraph get the story. After all, is the story what the EPA concluded or how inconsistent that conclusion is with the agency's own findings?

Bullshit like this make one wonder how long it will be before the Bush administration announces that it does not believe that New Orleans was impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

By the way, why do news organizations cut the length of stories that appear online, where there's an unlimited amount of space available?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice analysis

1/18/2006 04:41:00 PM  

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